Pesticide Spurs Bountiful Afghan Harvest

Manzoor Ahmad in his apricot orchard in Nangarhar
Manzoor Ahmad in his apricot orchard in Nangarhar
USAID
Farmers realize "tremendous" benefit from spraying orchards
"Farmers can use [the oil] on their orchards any time they need. Their fruit trees will be free of disease.”
September 2013- Until recently, farmers in eastern Afghanistan dreamt of a good harvest but were unable to make it a reality. Their orchards suffered from poor management and irrigation practices, and crucially, the inability to control winter pests. Then USAID started to educate them in February 2012 on the benefits of a pesticide called dormant, or winter, oil.
 
The oil-based pesticide is considered very effective, and field days were organized to spread the word throughout Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces. Farmers were also linked up with local private firms that could spray their orchards or teach them how to do so themselves. 215 orchard owners attended winter oil field days and 218 farmers applied winter oil to their orchards between Feb 2012 and March 2013. The extra 3 learned of it by word of mouth.
 
Naseem Sahar, vice president of one of the private firms, says the pesticide will be a “tremendous” benefit. “Now, farmers can obtain winter oil at a 2.5 percent discount and use it on their orchards any time they need. Their fruit trees will be free of disease.”
 
Farmers in Behsud district in Nangarhar discovered the advantage of the product during a field day demonstrating the impact of the winter oil. Eighteen farmers marveled at a disease-free orchard.
 
Manzoor Ahmad, who sprayed his orchard himself, said yield had improved so dramatically in one year he earned nearly 11 times more than he did before. IDEA-NEW followed up its dormant oil field days by holding similar training events that focused on pruning, composting, irrigation and weed control.
 
The field days are part of a USAID program called Incentives Driving 
Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) that focuses on activities that promote income generation and job creation through increased commercial agricultural opportunities for Afghan farmers in poppy-prone areas. The program also strengthens farm to market linkages in economic development corridors in its three target regions and works to grow viable agribusinesses by facilitating connections between producers, traders and buyers through market information activities and sales promotion. Launched in March 2009, IDEA-NEW will run until March 2014.

 

Last updated: December 20, 2013

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